ISO launch energy management standard

15th June 2011

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The first international certification standard to focus purely on energy management has been published.

ISO 50001, based on the European standard EN16001, provides a framework to help organisations create a management system that ensures they are considering energy use in every element of their operations.

The standard sets out requirements to establish energy performance indicators and to incorporate in the procurement process an assessment of the energy consumption of products, equipment or services during their entire lifecycle.

“50001 is a significant new global standard that will bring tremendous business value to organisations across the world that are having to grapple with rising energy costs and greater governmental climate change legislation,” said Mike Low, director of standards at BSI.

ISO has high hopes for the standard and its potential impact, estimating it could have a positive impact on 60% of the world’s energy use, but others are less optimistic pointing to relatively low uptake of its European predecessor.

According to figures recently published by the German Federal Environment Agency, since BS EN 16001’s publication in July 2009 just 150 certificates have been awarded worldwide – only 10 of which have been in the UK.

Max Linnemann, energy and environmental sector manager at certification body NQA, however, argues the figures aren’t as negative as they might first appear.

“The reaction to 16001 has actually been really positive,” he said. “If you compare the uptake to that of 14001 or 9001, you see that it is common for there to be a low adoption of standard initially, but uptake to rise quickly after that.”

Other critics have argued there is no need for energy management systems standards, when there is scope within 14001 to incorporate tools that measure energy consumption, but Linnemann disagrees.

“50001 has requirements that go above and beyond that of 14001. While businesses may be considering energy when they are purchasing new equipment or renovating their facilities, under 14001 they don’t have to and so they may be more focused on another element of their environmental impact,” he said.

“The energy standard is a much more explicit standard and it gives business the opportunity to prove to their clients they are taking a best practice approach to energy management. This will be especially important in sectors such as facilities management where customers are pushing to see proof their buildings are being run as efficiently as possible.”

50001 was made available from ISO’s website today (15 June 2011) and the organisation is hosting a formal launch in Geneva on 17 June.

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